NBH Governor György Matolcsy said the National Bank of Hungary handled the 2020 crisis successfully, and kept inflation at 3.3 percent, close to target.
Presenting the NBH’s annual report, the governor told parliament’s economic committee that to eliminate the “last vestiges of the crisis”, Hungary will have to focus on competitiveness. The NBH has already listed the steps to improve competitiveness and exploit the country’s potential, he said. The report was approved by the committee with 9 votes in favor and 4 against.
During the economic crisis, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic last year, the NBH focused on preserving the stability of the Hungarian economy and jobs, as well as on laying the foundations for a rebound once the crisis has passed, Matolcsy said. One of the most effective instruments in Europe and Hungary was the loan moratorium, which Hungary has been maintaining the longest.
Matolcsy said that thanks to successful crisis management, the loan stock of households and companies grew by 14 percent and 9 percent respectively last year. Small and medium-sized entrepreneurs received support totalling nearly HUF 3,000 billion (EUR 8.4bn) and targeted to support loan repayment and wages, he said. Loans were also boosted when the NBH cut the base rate by 15 basis points both in June and July, he said. Hungarian crisis management measures were a cut above the European average and enabled the country to rebound to pre-pandemic levels as early as 2021, Matolcsy said. The NBH has been profitable since 2013. In 2020, its profits grew by HUF 725 million to 255.4 billion, he added.
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